The king of Bahrain has declared a state of emergency in the island starting 15 March and lasting for the next three months.

According to King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa the head of the armed forces has been authorised to take all measures necessary to “protect the safety of the country and its citizens.”

The previous day additional forces from the UAE and Saudi Arabia arrived in Bahrain to help shore up the government after a month of protests which reached a new level on 13 March with anti-government demonstrators taking over the central business area in the capital, Manama.

The decision to impose the state of emergency followed calls on 14 March by several members of parliament who had been appointed by the King for it to be declared.

Violent clashes between anti-government groups and security forces intensified at the same time that the state of emergency was announced.